In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Always in His Presence

 

Psalm 139:1-12

In today’s reading, David asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?” (Psalm 139:7). The more he pondered the possibilities, the more he realized the answer is “nowhere.” God is present everywhere and at all times. This reality causes people to react in one of two ways—some find it a great comfort while others are filled with dread.

People who don’t know the Lord may think that He’s always judging their every move. But for those of us who belong to God through faith in His Son, His continual presence is a great comfort. We never have to walk through trials and heartaches alone, and we have complete confidence that He’s always providing, protecting, and guiding us through life.

This truth should change how we live. Knowing that God is ever-present motivates us to think, speak, and behave in ways that glorify Him. It’s a reminder to stand firm against temptations and pursue holiness.

There’s never a single moment in which the Lord is not looking out for your best interests. Nothing slips past Him into your life by accident, nor does the enemy have even a nanosecond’s opportunity to destroy you. This is the security we receive as believers, so let’s rejoice in knowing God is always with us.

Bible in One Year: Joshua 10-12

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Reason for Writing

 

Bible in a Year:

But these are written that you may believe.

John 20:31

Today’s Scripture & Insight: John 20:24–31

“The Lord is my high tower . . . . We left the camp singing.” On September 7, 1943, Etty Hillesum wrote those words on a postcard and threw it from a train. Those were the final recorded words we would hear from her. On November 30, 1943, she was murdered at Auschwitz. Later, Hillesum’s diaries of her experiences in a concentration camp were translated and published. They chronicled her perspectives on the horrors of Nazi occupation along with the beauty of God’s world. Her diaries have been translated into sixty-seven languages—a gift to all who would read and believe the good as well as the bad.

The apostle John didn’t sidestep the harsh realities of Jesus’ life on earth; he wrote of both the good Jesus did and the challenges He faced. The final words from his gospel give insight into the purpose behind the book that bears his name. Jesus performed “many other signs . . . which are not recorded” (20:30) by John. But these, he says, were “written that you may believe” (v. 31). John’s “diary” ends on the note of triumph: “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.” The gift of those gospel words allows us the opportunity to believe and “have life in his name.”

The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) are diary accounts of God’s love for us. They’re words to read and believe and share, for they lead us to life. They lead us to Christ.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

How might it change the way you read the Gospels if you thought of them as diaries? How are you being led to the heart of Christ through them?

Gracious God, thank You for the gift of the Scriptures, written down by faithful hands so that I might believe and have life.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Realizing the Need for Seriousness

 

“Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom” (James 4:9b).

The humble individual will come to see that sin is not a laughing matter.

Humor has always had a place in popular culture. But in recent decades a more worldly side to humor has emerged. Situation comedies dominate the list of top-rated TV shows, but many are far from what’s really best for people to view. The shows’ contents so often pander to the immoral and tend to put down scriptural values. Meanwhile, the world also runs headlong after activities that stress fun and self-indulgence. Most people just want to enjoy life and not take anything too seriously.

God’s Word acknowledges that there is a proper time and place for joy and laughter: “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Eccles. 3:4). The psalmist tells of one appropriate time for laughter and happiness: “When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting” (Ps. 126:1-2).

But the Lord requires that anyone who would have a relationship with Him must begin on a sober, serious, humble note. In today’s Scripture, James urges sinners to exchange worldly laughter and frivolity for godly mourning and gloom over their sin. The laughter spoken of here is the kind that indicates a leisurely indulging in human desires and pleasures. It pictures people who give no serious thought to God, to life, death, sin, judgment, or God’s demands for holiness. Without mincing words, it is the laughter of fools who reject God, not that of the humble who pursue Him.

James’s message is that saving faith and proper humility consist of a serious, heartfelt separation from the folly of worldliness as well as a genuine sorrow over sin. If these characteristics are present in your life, it is fairly safe evidence that you are one of the humble (see 1 John 2:15-17).

Suggestions for Prayer

Seek forgiveness for any thoughts and actions that have kept you from a serious attitude in your walk with God.

For Further Study

Read 1 John 2:15-17.

  • Think of several examples under each of the categories of worldliness in verse 16. Which of these are problems for you?
  • What steps can you take, with God’s help, to overcome them?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – You Are the Place of Prayer

 

For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God’s garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God’s building.

— 1 Corinthians 3:9 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day – by Joyce Meyer

Under the Old Covenant, the temple was the house of God, the place of prayer for His people, the children of Israel. The temple had three compartments, one of which was the Holy of Holies, which held the presence of God. Amazingly, now our renewed and sanctified spirit—the core of who we are—is the place where He makes His home!

Under the New Covenant, the apostle Paul tells us that God’s presence is now a mystery revealed as Christ in us, “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Because of the relationship you now have with Christ, you can be close to God because you’re now His living temple. You are a home for the Holy Spirit, a building still under construction, but nonetheless His house. Paul spends a lot of time encouraging us to live a holy life, because we are the temple of God.

While the children of Israel had to go to a specific place and follow detailed instructions to worship God, we have the incredible privilege of worshipping Him anywhere and at any time, so we are actually houses of prayer. We are always close to God because He dwells in us!

Prayer Starter: Father, please give me the ability to live a holy life, and teach me how to care for my spirit, soul and body, since I’m Your living temple. Thank You for making Your home in me! In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Many Tribulations

Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

 Acts 14:22

God’s people have their trials. It was never God’s plan, when He chose His people, that they should be untested. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen for worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised to them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, He included chastisements among the things to which they should inevitably be heirs.

Trials are a part of our experience; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. As surely as the stars are fashioned by His hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us. He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them.

Consider the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and facing them with faith, he became the father of the faithful. Review the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you will find that each of those whom God made vessels of mercy were made to pass through the fire of affliction.

God has ordained that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal insignia distinguishing the King’s vessels of honor. But even though tribulation is the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has walked it before them. They have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “many tribulations” through which they passed to enter it.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Our Guide

 

 

“For this God is our God forever and forever: he will be our guide even unto death.” (Psalm 48:14)

For her twelfth birthday, Julie wanted to go on a real adventure. Her dad decided to take her whitewater rafting. Dad and Julie got onto a bus with rafts piled on top of it. Everyone on the bus was excited as they rode to the river. Julie could see that some parts of the river were calm, but there were some really strong rapids. When she and her dad got off the bus and they walked down to the bank of the river, she could see there were huge boulders in the middle of it. Suddenly, Julie started wondering what she had been thinking when she said she wanted an adventurous birthday. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea, after all! She was shaking a little as Dad helped her get her lifejacket on and handed her a paddle.

But she felt better when a man with a Starbucks ball cap gathered some of them together and started explaining what they were going to do. He told the group that his name was Rob, and that he was going to be their guide for the day. He said that there are different categories of whitewater rapids. In the rating system they used, “1” meant “barely moving,” and “6” meant “Niagara Falls.” Julie blinked and swallowed hard. She had not planned to go rafting on anything like Niagara Falls! She was a little comforted to hear Rob say that the river they were going on was only a “3” or “4.”

Rob showed Julie and her group where and how they should sit in the raft, and then he jumped in the back. They traveled down the river, bouncing through rapids and dodging boulders. Rob would shout simple instructions as they moved along; they paddled when he said “Paddle” and rested when he said “Rest.” Julie could tell that they were sticking to the most exciting part of the river–where the action was. She also noticed that Rob was not only paddling with his oar, but he was also using his oar as a rudder. He used it to steer their raft around the boulders, through the peaceful waters, and over the rough rapids. Julie decided she trusted Rob. She smiled when she saw that he had somehow managed to keep his Starbucks cap on the whole time! Rob had guided people down this same river for years, and he knew how to get them down the river safely. And not only was he going to get them safely back on shore, but he was also going to take them right through the most exciting rapids and give them the best possible journey.

Life is a little like that river. Have you ever stopped to think that God is an expert Guide? Sometimes things go along smoothly. Things are good with your family and friends. God is guiding you through the smooth times. But the life of a Christian will not always be easy. A full life, with lots of the best kind of adventure, is going to have really rough times.

No matter what is happening right now, God is the most trustworthy Guide you could ever have. He is all-knowing. He sees everything and knows how to handle everything. He is all-powerful. He is absolute control of any circumstance that you face in your life, and He can protect you during anything you have to go through. He is faithful. He will not leave you to take care of yourself if you count on Him for His help. You can ask Him to guide you and give you wisdom through both the smooth and the rough places in your life. Depend on God to be your Guide. He is more than worthy of your trust.

God is a faithful and dependable Guide Who deserves our trust.

My Response:
» Do I lean on myself instead of asking God for wisdom and help?
» When I am in trouble, do I look to God as the only perfect Guide?

The post God Is Our Guide appeared first on EquipU Online Library.

Read in browser »

 

Home Page

Denison Forum – Why canceling Dr. Seuss is a threat to all evangelicals: Praying today for the courage we will need tomorrow

 

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904–91) wrote and illustrated more than sixty books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. By the time of his death, his books had sold more than six hundred million copies and had been translated into more than twenty languages.

Geisel was a graduate of Dartmouth with graduate studies at Oxford. His work received two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. For decades, Read Across America Day has celebrated his birthday while encouraging children to read. Like millions of others, I read Dr. Seuss’ books as a child and then read them to our children.

Then came recent accusations that some of his books depict characters in racist ways. A school district in Virginia dropped Read Across America Day as a result. While President Obama marked the Day with a proclamation calling Dr. Seuss “one of America’s revered wordsmiths” and President Trump cited his “motivational words,” President Biden omitted any reference to Dr. Seuss in his recent proclamation marking the day.

In response to this controversy, the company that oversees the author’s estate announced that it would no longer publish six of his books, citing what it called “hurtful and wrong” images.

The company did not elaborate, but the New York Times reports that one of the books portrays a “Chinaman” with lines for eyes who is wearing a pointed hat and carrying chopsticks and a bowl of rice. Another book depicts two characters from “the African island of Yerka” as shirtless, shoeless, and resembling monkeys. National Review notes that another Dr. Seuss book seems to have been targeted for a depiction of an Eskimo and still another for an Arab-looking character.

Then eBay joined the controversy, announcing that it would purge all listings for the six books from its site. Notably, the e-commerce giant will still allow you to sell pornography, Mein Kampf, and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.

 

The Sneetches and the United Nations 

I understand the sentiment against cartoons depicting ethnicities in unflattering or discriminatory ways, especially in books that could be influential for children. When the company that owns the formerly branded Aunt Jemima pancake and syrup products changed the brand and dropped a logo known to perpetuate racist stereotypes, I wrote an article supporting their decision.

However, there’s more to the story, a dimension that affects every evangelical Christian in America.

Writing for National Review, Dan McLaughlin focuses on one of the “canceled” books, The Sneetches. He describes the plot: The Sneetches are identical birds, except that some have stars on their bellies while others do not. The star-belly Sneetches look down on the star-less Sneetches. Then a monkey named Sylvester McMonkey McBean offers to add stars to bellies for a fee.

Now that the star-belly Sneetches are no longer superior, McBean talks them into removing their stars so that they can declare star-less bellies to be the new grounds for supremacy. Eventually, everyone loses track of who had what, while McBean makes off with all their money. Poorer but wiser, the Sneetches abandon star-based classification altogether and live in star-blind harmony.

The moral is clear and compelling: we should not discriminate against others based on their appearance. A “star blind” culture is best for all. Everyone deserves the same opportunities as everyone else. The book is so persuasive and its message so positive that in 1998, NATO and the UN distributed copies of the book in Bosnia in the midst of the ethnic conflicts being waged there.

This was essentially the approach of the civil rights movement. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensured that all Americans have the equal right and access to vote.

The goal was a culture in which everyone had the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. A “star-blind” society, in other words.

The NEA recommends a book about a cross-dressing prince 

That was then; this is now.

McLaughlin quotes the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) with regard to The Sneetches: “The solution to the story’s conflict is that the Plain-Belly Sneetches and Star-Bellied Sneetches simply get confused as to who is oppressed. As a result, they accept one another. This message of ‘acceptance’ does not acknowledge structural power imbalances. It doesn’t address the idea that historical narratives impact present-day power structures. And instead of encouraging young readers to recognize and take action against injustice, the story promotes a race-neutral approach.”

Here’s the point: it’s no longer enough to seek a world in which all Americans have equal opportunities with regard to voting, education, employment, or other civil rights. Now we must be proactive in “canceling” any oppression as defined by any person considered to be oppressed. We must identify “structural power imbalances” and “take action against injustice” as defined by the SPLC and similar groups.

For example, the National Education Association has provided a list of books to consider as replacements for those by Dr. Seuss that have been canceled. It includes Julián Is a Mermaid, about a boy who wants to be a mermaid, and The Prince and the Dressmaker, about a cross-dressing prince.

 

Why we must “be strong and courageous” 

Tomorrow, I plan to explain the worldview behind this movement. For today, let’s note its danger for evangelicals. If you disagree with this ideology, you’re among the oppressors. If you defend biblical morality against an LGBTQ agenda, for instance, you’re an oppressor of the persecuted oppressed. This mentality applies to “minority rights” across the age spectrum from abortion to euthanasia.

This ideology is only going to become more pervasive in a culture that is deteriorating from our Judeo-Christian heritage to post-Christian to now anti-Christian worldviews. We must not compromise our biblical convictions or treat our opponents as our enemies. Instead, we must pray now for the courage to stand for biblical truth with biblical grace.

As we do, we can claim Moses’ word to the Jews confronting the dangers they faced as God’s word to us: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Will you take your Lord at his word today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –Grace Brings Honesty

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

My high school baseball coach had a firm rule against chewing tobacco, and he wanted to draw it to our attention. He got our attention all right. Before long we’d all tried it! It was a sure test of manhood. One day I’d just popped a plug in my mouth when one of the players warned, “Here comes the coach.” I did what comes naturally—I swallowed. Gulp.

 

I added new meaning to the scripture, “I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long” (Psalm 32:3). I paid the price for hiding my disobedience. My body was not made to ingest tobacco. Your soul was not made to ingest sin. Are you keeping any secrets from God? Any part of your past or present that you hope you and God never discuss? Well listen, once you’re in the grip of grace, you’re free to be honest. And you’ll be glad you were.

 

Home